"Shake it up, oo-oo, shake it up, yeah."—The Cars
Progressive judging criteria, the calculus that is the fresh ASP World Ranking system—these are not the only current transformations the ASP has instituted to push competitive surfing into this modern era. A change of schedule accompanies.
Typically after the first two legs of Australia, the Dream Tourians are granted the gift of heading to one of the last natural paradises on this earth, Tahiti. Not so this year. Instead they are booking tickets to the least popular stop, Brazil. It's late Fall in Brazil (no g-strings or bronzing buns on the beach) and an average beachbreak in Santa Catarina is the venue. To add to the less than stellar location, the pressure is on the pros—after Brazil there will only be two more contests until the top 45 will be trimmed down to 32.
With beachbreak to offer, Brazil is really anyone's game. Adriano de Souza is surely a favorite. He is a hero to his people, and their greatest hope for a World Title. He was narrowly defeated in front of all of Brazil last year by the likes of Kelly Slater. But the progressive judging benefits the erratic surfing of De Souza.
Mick, Kelly, Bede, Taj, CJ, they've all had success in Brazil. They can take flight from ramps with the likes of the younger ones on Tour—Dane, Jordy, Pat Gudang, Dusty, Owen. And don't forget about Bobby Martinez's Parko-thwarting punt at Bells, err Johanna—surely the cleanest air of the entire event.
So shake it up ASP, shake it up! Make your red-headed step-child of a contest exciting for all the world to see, and prove to us a stop in Brazil belongs on the Dream Tour.—Ryan Brower
The 2010 Billabong Pro Santa Catarina kicks off April 23 and runs till May 2nd. You can catch all the action on aspworldtour.com and get the full wrap-ups on transworldsurf.com.
*Editor’s Note: Billabong announced their sponsorship of this event after it was published, check out the full story on how the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina came about.
Below are our Fantasy Action Sports League picks for the 2010 Santa Catarina Pro in Brazil. Whose on your team? If you don't have a team yet, get your own FASL team today!
Winner: Everybody's gonna say Adriano De Souza, and he may win. But it's gonna be hard to get past Fanning and Slater. It really depends on the waves. Bobby Martinez is flaring up, I'm gonna go ahead and say he's gonna take this one.
Shocker: There will be no g-strings on the beach, too cold—nice planning ASP, geez.
Rookie: Duh, Jadson Andre is gonna go nuts and maybe even take his unibrow with his contest winnings.
Winner: Taj. Sounds like Billabong is taking over the Brazil event and not that it will influence the judges, but it won't hurt either. And Taj does well in Brazil anyways.
Shocker: Marco Polo will surf his first heat blindfolded.
Rookie: Dusty will do two of those giant fin wafts per heat, and will make the quarters.
Winner: Taj Burrow. The way he's surfing combined with the focus makes a lot of sense to me.
Shocker: I guess it would be a good shocker to say a Hobgood will be in the final against Taj. After some so-so results at waves that aren't gracious to them, CJ and Damo are gonna take advantage of the first event that does work for them.
Rookie: Jadson Andre—home field advantage.
Winner: I was impressed with the surfing of Bede Durbidge when the Rip Curl Pro ran at some random beach break. That said, the Brazil event is held at another beachbreak where I expect the big bloke to blow up. Not the flashiest, but he gets the job done.
Shocker: Adriano De Souza will fold with the pressure of a surf-frenzied nation upon his shoulders.
Rookie: Dusty Payne came damn close to taking out Slater at Bells—I think he's found his feet on the World Tour and will do well in Brazil.
Winner: Jordy Smith. He's kinda on fire right now and everybody knows he should've won his heat against Fanning. If he starts linking airs with big turns then he will be unstoppable.
Shocker: Even though the ASP switched the dates this year in favor of a better swell window, the waves will still be mediocre at best.
Rookie: Tanner G! He's surfing really well on his backhand right now and if the lefts are better than the rights then watch out or him to really take down some big names.
Winner: Taj has a slew of victories in Brazil and if he's still got that same focus we've seen of late it'll be lights out. If he's more into the Brazilian party scene then Slater or Bobby will come out on top.
Shocker: Adriano De Souza will be nowhere near the finals. The nation of Brazil will crumble to it's knees.
Rookie: Jadson Andre would be a cop out (even though he is the highest ranked rookie at the moment). I'm gonna say Pat Gudauskas is gonna find a few ramps and maybe even nab one of those rodeo clowns again.